THE INTELLIGENT SINGAPOREAN

Powered by the Plogosphere

Archive for the ‘Strategic Studies’ Category

Discovering The Road Back to Sanity in American Foreign Relations

Posted by intellisg on May 12, 2007

sanity.jpg“During the Cold War, we had the simplicity of bipolarity. After it ended, during the transitional phase, the US was the sole hyperpower but we are now seeing the limits of hard power.”

George Yeo, 13th March 2007

Since 1993, the disintegration of the Soviet Union left the US as the only super power. When the Republicans came into power under the banner of the Bush administration, 9/11 provided what seemed an unchallengeable opportunity to promulgate a new “Pax Americana” – a new order in world politics.

The “war on terror” was seen as a sort of “crusade” reborn again. Yet it was without a clear enemy except against a man who lived in a cave in Tora Bora and rode a donkey.

The US launched a series of military campaigns first against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Followed by a long and protracted military campaign to oust the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

5 years later after over 5,000 coalition troops have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. The “war on terror” has achieved little – sectarian violence rages on in the streets in Baghdad – terrorist recruitment has never been higher before. The war on terror is looking like another Vietnam and the US is seen to have squandered all its moral currency on pursuing a lost cause which has seen it continually mired as it ambles like a drunkard trying to find his way out of the quagmire. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Politics, Strategic Studies, World | 1 Comment »

When the UN Simply Means – The United Nothing

Posted by intellisg on May 10, 2007

un1.jpgMENTION the United Nations in every major city in the world (especially in the US) and you will likely be greeted with an unending litany of woes – Anti Semitic, hobbling the United States, justifying tyranny, bribery, fat salaries, squander, unproductive meetings, lousy aid programs, waste of mythical proportions, failures which make the science of transmuting lead to gold look like the roaring success of the millennia. In these circles, the UN along with its various agencies, FAO, UNCITRAL, WHO, UNESCO, WIPO, and yes, even the WTO is frequently not spared the whip or the occasional burst of bird shot.

Even the paperbacks have joined the UN bashing wagon, notably a series of dooms day books that are starting to proliferate the shelves of Borders these days with catchy headliners like the “Lost Dream” or “The Blues.”

They sell amazingly well and they all have one thing in common. They all hate the UN often equating it with the devil or Satan – describing the actual power of the UN as exaggerated – an aging bureaucracy in need of an overhaul – a tool against freedom and democracy.

I mean, please you don’t expect me to believe all these do you? I know and you know the UN may not be Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Florence Nightingale or Britney Speers rolled up into one. But surely the idea of asserting that it’s satanic or even devilish is preposterous isn’t it? Besides name me one large institution that’s perfect? The UN agencies may not be entirely trouble-free, but I am sure somewhere in the heart of darkness in Central Africa some poor kid is getting his daily quota of dysentery tablets. Or in some far off refugee camp somewhere in Darfur a few UN blue helmeted troops are battling to keep planet and people safe by disarming gun totting militia bent on mayhem.

So what’s really wrong with the UN? How did it maneuver itself into this position where it’s like a fish in the bucket? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Politics, Strategic Studies, World | 7 Comments »

When A Good Idea Goes “Wrong”: The Iraqi Campaign and Southeast Asia

Posted by intellisg on May 9, 2007

good-idea.jpg“America has to take a firm position and if it leaves with its tail between its legs, it is going to be very damaging for America, very damaging for all of its friends… particularly in Southeast Asia, that we will all be greatly alarmed because our security will be greatly affected.”

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently on May 6, 2007 (AFP)

Nearly a week has passed since President Bush vetoed a bipartisan proposal in the senate that fully funded additional troops into the Iraqi theatre so that the US can responsibly end the war. At face value, the decision to undertake a “strategic retreat” signals a reversal of the White House’s position towards the proposals of the Baker-Hamilton report. It might seem even to be a tacit acknowledgment, that the shit has hit the fan and its time to slowly back track and go back into the car and drive somewhere any where except out of Iraq.

This article will paint in broad and long strokes what actually went wrong with the Iraqi campaign inspired by “the war on terror.” It will also explore what long and disturbing shadows the Iraqi campaign will cast against countries in South East Asia.

(1) Warning: Not using your brain is hazardous to your country’s health

One of the reasons accounting for the ineptitude of US foreign policy is the failure to reason. This followed directly from the intellectual failure to address itself to the practical necessities of sustaining such a complex military, social, political and economic campaign in Iraq before, during and after war. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Iraq, Politics, Sociology, Strategic Studies, World | 23 Comments »